Angola – Sonangol Reshuffle

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President Dos Santos makes his daughter the head of the state oil company as a group of lawyers seek to block the move.

According to National State Radio (RNA) President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos has appointed a new board of directors for state oil firm Sonangol, placing his daughter, Isabel dos Santos, as the head of the firm.

Already Isabel dos Santos has wealth estimated at US$3.3 billion, making her the richest woman in Africa. Her own company, GALP, is Portugal‘s largest in the oil and gas sector, reported AllAfrica.

However according to a report by Maka Angola, an investigation has “unmasked Isabel dos Santos and proves that – contrary to her assertions – her Galp shares were obtained via Sonangol in a business deal paid for by state money and public funds”.

Maka claimed that Angola is already one of Africa’s worst “kleptocracies”, and the revelations reveal that Isabel dos Santos was only able to amass her fortune by diverting funds from Sonangol. Maka ask, “Should Angola now expect Isabel to repay Sonangol the seed money funnelled through front companies Exem Africa and Esperaza Holdings?

The Angolan regime has seen many billions in revenue disappear during the Presidency of dos Santos, with much of the benefits going to the Presidential family and a small circle of elites.

For around four decades President Santos has ruled the oil-dependent nation, and senior members of the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) have talked of Isobel’s eventual succession. The recent appointment sees her placed at the “apex of the money tree that has for so long funded the Dos Santos endeavours,” reported Maka Angola.

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President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos – CC

However, the Daily Nation, on June 5th reported that twelve Angolan lawyers had decided to attempt to block the appointment of Isabel as head of Sonangol. The lawyers are to submit a complaint against the ruling regime for breaking public probity laws.

Spokesperson for the group, David Mendes, said, “the law says a public agent must not nominate or allow nominations and agreements when there is an intervention of his wife or his first degree relatives…the appointment is illegal and the law is in on our side to halt the nomination”.

The main opposition party, the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), said that the appointment is a clear demonstration of favouritism and corruption inside the ruling party.

The Presidential family has large stakes in most of Angola’s strategic industries, including diamonds, the banking sector, media and telecommunications, and Isobel has much of her business empire located in Portugal.

Given Angola’s dependence of oil, being the head of the state oil company is “next to the presidency… the most powerful position in the country,” Angola analyst Aslak Orre told the BBC, reported the Daily Nation.

President Dos Santos is the second longest serving African leader after Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea. In March this year he said that he would step down in 2018, although similar promises made in the past have not been fulfilled.

New board of Sonangol:

– Isabel dos Santos – non-Executive Administrator and President the Board of Directors.
– Paulino Fernando de Carvalho Gerónimo – Director and chairman of the Executive Committee.
– Caesar Paxi Manuel João Pedro – Executive Director.
– Eunice Paula Figueiredo Carvalho – Executive Administrator.
– Manuel Luís Carvalho de Lemos – Executive Director.
– John Pedro de Freitas Saraiva dos Santos – Executive Director.
– Jorge de Abreu – non – Executive Director.
– Jose Gime – non – Executive Director.
– André Lelo -. non – Executive Director
– Sarju Raikundalia – non – Executive Director

Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin:

POWER: Angola
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.53, Issue.4, Pp.21263B–21264C

OIL AND GAS: Angola
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.53, Issue.4, Pp.21260A–21261C

ANGOLA: Economy in Crisis
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.53, Issue.1, Pp.21134B–21135A

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